Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
Another week, another issue of Witful Thinking, Wednesday and – need we say it? – another tardiness.
This time, how about this for an alibi? A sentimental trip on this Philippine Independence Day weekend to Cebu, the Queen City of the South.
LOL times 2. Laughing Out Loud in the Land Of Lapu-Lapu. With some members of a group who call themselves The Cebu Squad.
As expected, the conservatives won big in the elections for the European Union Parliament Sunday night. Clobbering the center-left Socialist Group (PES), the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) garnered the largest majority, 263 of 736 seats.
The Social Democrats campaigned hard on the issue of the reluctance of the conservative party to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis.
The voters were evidently far from stimulated with the liberals’ pitch for stimulus. Unimpressed, they gave the center-left party only 162 seats, down from 215; and, Socialist Group (PES) leader Martin Schulz 215, dejectedly calling it “a very bitter evening for social democracy in Europe.”
Are you listening, America? Are you taking note, Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney?
This will be the first time POTUS and C-in-C Barack Obama will address the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland this Friday. According to the Washington Times, the graduating midshipmen are being told in writing to leave at home or in their vehicles all "ceremonial swords" and anything else "that might be considered a weapon or a threat by screeners."
Isn’t this the President that has captivated and is loved all over the world? But, perhaps, not in his own turf. And if so, we are tempted to chant the usual refrain, ‘Don’t blame us, we did not vote for him.’ But we won’t go there. Again, not now.
Whatever the case may be, we could not have crafted a reaction we consider more apt than that of Cavalier Sam Marcelo x87, a retired US Navy man:
“I take it that the pen is unauthorized gear too. The pen is mightier than the sword.
The "Change" of the times.”
Yes, Sam, this could be a change, among an increasing number of other changes in this administration, which you and I may not believe in.
The terse announcement from the Black and White movement, one of the prime movers of Wednesday’s demonstration on the streets of Makati, read: Rain or shine, our protest against ConAss is on tomorrow!
They called this mass protest, tindignation, a combo of the Filipino tindig (stand up) and the English word, indignation.
Thus, the call to action – to stand up and express our indignation. And thousands of them did.
In Bacolod City, protesters were enjoined to "buy a whistle, wear a red ribbon, sign a manifesto of indignation and hit the streets in protest….."
Wow, thousands or tens of thousands of whistle blowers! This would make them happy - Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, LtSG Nancy Gadian and General Antonio Taguba, three whistle blowers featured by us earlier (see 09-05-20 WTW/”Balikatan/Baliktaran: Dynamics of Whistle Blowing?”).
Whistle blowing ain’t dead, no matter what you say, Cavalier Jaime “Jim” Montanez ’82.
Item: Pacquiao to throw first pitch at Dodgers Stadium on June 17.
The incredible saga of pacquiao (pakyaw, in Filipino, means ‘take all’) continues, through Time and Forbes magazines, as we have cited in past WTWs, and now in baseball fields throughout the US. He’s scheduled to throw the first pitch again in August, with the proceeds for the boxing champion’s appearance to go to his Foundation.
Will this saga end up at the doorstep of Congress or Malacanang Palace in 2010?
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile postponed until July the ethics trial of Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr., upon learning that Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal could not appear before the Senate committee as a whole. A critical principal witness, Madrigal was expected to testify that Villar profited from the C-5 road project by appropriating twice the amount originally allotted for it.
The lady senator came down with the flu, raising fears that it could be the swine flu, the H1N1 variety.
So, Villar is safe for now. The only one in the history of the Philippine Senate, to the best of our knowledge, saved not by the bell, but by the flu.
Headline: 'Sexy' billboards in Metro go down.
A total of 37 bill boards showing models and celebrities in skimpy outlines have been dismantled voluntarily by the operators or taken down by members of the Dept Works and Public Highways.
The good news: A good sign that smut may be off the Philippine highways.
The bad news: The possibility of a shift to the information highways on the internet for free offering of sex tapes like those of cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Hayden Kho, ("Kitang hubad on-line"). (09-05-27 WTW/”Intimacy, Hidden or Hayden: Ay Naku, Ay Na-Kho!”)
The road to or from PMA, as travelled by many in the past, has not exactly been an easy one, figuratively and literally.
And it looks like nothing has changed to this day; at least, literally. Last week, we reported on a report about the “horrific traffic leading to Fort del Pilar, the route from the Baguio Export Processing Zone to PMA.”
From the update from professor Joy Tio, we think that the situation has hardly changed this week either “Right now,” Tio reports, “more and more establishments are being constructed on the road to PMA….. a big building is in fact being put up fronting the checkpoint….. that beautiful stretch of road banked on both sides by trees have been "rehabilitated" for no reason at all and the serene view on either side of the road blocked off by retaining walls haphazardly erected without any art to it.”
Wait, there’s more from where these disconcerting observations come from, but we do not wish to spoil your day, even on a witful Wednesday, or your present and future plans to visit PMA, any day of the week.
I have been told, and I must say that I agree, that she does have good looks, a clear vision of the future, an extraordinary eye for talent and an eye for good and evil as well.
Therefore, I couldn’t see, not even in my mind’s eye, why in the name of Louie Braille we were at this Asian Eye Institute right here in the center, in the eye, of Makati as it were, that Monday morning last week. And as personable and friendly as this eye surgeon appeared to be, why was he prescribing eye surgery for my fiancée the following day?
Instead of appearing on a TV program featuring the 2010 presidential candidates, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson sent an official announcement that he was quitting the presidential race.
Lacson, the GenSen in PMA mail groups, for General-Senator, was a sentimental favorite of many in this community of PMAyers in cyberspace closely watching the presidential derby. He was not among the first five of the so-called ‘presidentiables’ in any of the polls, including the last one by Pulse Asia; a surprise to some observers, to include us, given that he fared very well in his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2004 and during his subsequent successful run for the Senate.
Down to signal digits in the opinion polls, he could very well have been last among the more credible presidential hopefuls. But he will have the distinction of being the first to call it quits. It will be recalled, he was also the first to come out in the open to declare that he would support Chief Justice Reynato Puno should the chief magistrate announce to run for President (see 09-01-28 WTW/”Puno (ng) Possibilities”).
Cavalier Danilo “Dan” Jimenez ’77 who authors the periodic “PeeMAyers in the News” posted this recently:
“Yes, everybody's running.
Danny Lim and Ariel Querubin for the Senate, Ping Lacson for President (so with Manny Villar, Kabayan de Castro, Loren Legarda, Erap Estrada, Mar Roxas, chit Escudero, et.al.) and even intelligence officer/special envoy Manny Pacquiao for an unknown office for now.”
No, Dan, not everybody. And we hope with Ping Lacson showing the way, the others will follow suit.
With Lacson’s withdrawal, speculations have surfaced and a game of political table tennis has inevitably emerged on the scene: a game of ping for every pong.
For every ping from the senator himself and/or his supporters, including the reason for his withdrawal and its effect on the election, a pong from his critics and detractors. And like the game of table tennis, the exchange of pings and pongs has become fast and furious among the parties that have chosen to join in, bystanders like us included, and trying to score some points for either end of the ping-pong table.
Cavalier Warren Lee ’97 may have articulated it for supporters of Ping supporters when he wrote: It’s a pity indeed. I hope he will reconsider. Our country badly needs a leader of his caliber.
Columnist Ramon Tulfo is generally perceived to have more hate than love in his well-known love-hate relationship with the military and police communities. In his column, On Target ("So what if Ping Lacson withdrew," Philippines Daily Inquirer, Tuesday, June 9, 2009), he provides this view, a pong to Lee’s ping:
"What's so significant about a sure loser…..
Isn't he trailing in the surveys?"
"Lacson knows he'll just be wasting money, money he can use for his defense in court for his alleged role in the abduction-murder of publicist Bubby Dacer and Emmnanuel Corbito."
And still another pong; this one, a conjecture on why Lacson quit, from As I Wreck This Chair’s William M. Esposo: “the political demolition that Lacson has been attempting to inflict on leading presidential candidate Senator Manny Villar hardly affected Villar’s poll ratings but eroded Lacson’s candidacy instead; and, the arrival in the country of former Police Sr. Superintendent Cesar Mancao to corroborate an earlier affidavit linking Lacson to the Dacer-Corbito murders delivered the coup de grace to Lacson’s hopes to be elected president.”
Lacson’s term as senator won’t expire until 2013, so he can continue, as we think he should, to be a significant player in national politics, the 2010 presidential elections included. Neither Tulfo nor Esposo, nor Mancao for that matter, ought to count him out. We would be surprised if Tulfo et. al. will succeed in keeping Lacson away, from what he chooses to do from here onward to carry on what he has begun since his engagement in Philippine politics when he retired from the military.
This is not wishful thinking.
As strange as it may seem, we have not met, let alone spoken, with this GenSen, although we have featured him several times in this column.
The other day at the HR 1109 mass protest on Paseo de Roxas and Ayala would have been a good time to meet the man at long last.
But he was on the ship, and I was on the shore. We mean, he was on the stage, and we were on the ground.
Without a Ping, and without a chance, it seems, that Ping won’t reconsider his decision, would it be wishful for us to think now of Pong?
Yes, Pong, as in Senator Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon.
First-time WTW reader, Jesse Cabanacan, corrected us on what we wrote in our last issue:
Headline: Mancao to identify “Bigote.”
Bigote, or Bearded One, is allegedly the mastermind of the killing.
“You must have meant ‘mustached’ or ‘mustacheod’ since the Tagalog equivalent of Bearded One is ‘balbas’ or ‘may balbas,’ Cabanacan explained.
“A mustached man (and sometimes a woman, yes!) may not necessarily be bearded. But some beard styles include a mustache, such as full beard (balbas sarado), goatee and mustache, chin strip and mustache, etc.
“And according to the American Mustache Institute (yes, there’s such an organization that purports to protect the rights of mustached Americans) there are several styles of mustache: chevron, dali, english, fu Manchu, handlebar, pencil, toothbrush, etc. So, any reference to bigote is, at best, vague.”
Cabanacan, a retired US Navy officer and by his own admission, a “recovering mustacheod” man, can be considered an expert on this subject. So, we can only hope that Cabanacan is not hired as a consultant by Mancao or his handlers at DOJ on or before Mancao identifies Bigote.
“Cha – Cha!, Tsk – Tsk!, or #?@/)(+-*! (I hope I spelled that correctly),” Vic E began, in sharing his reaction to last issue’s center-“piece” subject.
“(But) does it really matter,” he asked, “whether we are bicameral, unicameral, presidential, parliamentary, democratic, monarchic, dictatorial, anarchic (political scientists say that is also a form of government)? As you PNCC  guys said in a previous lifetime, PEOPLE DO, SYSTEMS GO!” 
The last time we heard from him, Vic E “was thinking of blowing up the PLDT offices in Makati,” if after getting connected again following some frustrating moments, WTW which he was reading at the time he was disconnected wasn’t restored in his in-box.
This time, his frustration, it seemed to us, had given way to indignation and the object of that indignation: the “ass____s who bullet-trained HR 1109 (who) keep saying this is all a numbers game.” And if so, Vic E’s call to himself for self-action: “Ancient as I am now, I am beginning to feel it is time to reduce their numbers. And I’m (sic) don’t mean through a democratic process.”
Reiterating his request cited in last week’s WTW “for a ceasefire in recriminations/accusations at iba pang mahanghang na salita (and other expressions of bitterness) up to Independence Day, June 12,” Cavalier Francisco “Mike” San Miguel ’51 gave us this reason: “to give respect/consideration for older alumni and veterans who believe that they fought to give our country kalayaan, katatagan, katarungan at kaunlaran patungo sa kapayapaan at kasaganaan.  It would give them pain to be reminded of what the country has become and how the action or inaction of government officials (including many PMA alumni) have (sic) brought upon them.”
Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81 has been very generous of his time as he continues to help us pro bono with his seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of creative genius in maintaining the WTW blog, which includes of course those imaginative clip-arts that you see at the top of the page. 
He has just reminded us that there is something wrong in our count; that this issue should be wtw 09-23.
Yes, our count is off by one, but we think this does not pass for Dagdag-Bawas , does it?
cebu city, philippines
 Roughly translated, ‘kitang hubo on-line” is seen nude on-line; the phrase, coined by Cavalier Vlad “Vrad-HoAJ” Punto, another WTW C5 (Cavalier contributor, correspondent, conniver/complainer and critic – and wordsmith, par excellence.
 We were, however, hopeful to the very end. Recognizing that he was becoming more of a long-shot in the race, we likened him to the horse, a 50-1 underdog that won the Kentucky Derby (see 09-05-20 WTW).
 PNCC stands for Philippine Navy Computer Center.
 Vic E, whose military career included a stint in IT, remembers this PNCC motto, “People Do, Systems Go,” which we coined to recognize our credo in the primacy of people over systems.
 kalayaan, katatagan, katarungan at kaunlaran patungo sa kapayapaan at kasaganaan – Freedom, stability, justice and progress towards peace and prosperity
 We believe that the clip-art in this issue – Ping Lacson and Mon Tulfo on opposite ends of the ping-pong table, with bystanders in the middle, is one of Ochoco’s best
 Roughly translated, add-subtract, referring to an anomaly in Philippine elections where votes are added (dagdag) to one candidate after they are subtracted (bawas) from another candidate, thereby maintaining the total number of votes cast and avoiding the suspicion of cheating. Dagdag, without the bawas, would raise a lot of eyebrows, to say the least.